Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

, UN Climate Change Conference Bill “”Begins in Glasgow on Sunday to prevent the most devastating effects of global warming. Delegates from all over the world will call Achieving “Greenhouse gas emissions in the middle of the century and keeping our rapidly warming planet temperature more controllable at 1.5 degrees Celsius instead of catastrophe .

With the world’s vision still focused on stewardship of the catastrophic planet of humanity and what can be done to correct the pollution of our past, in recent weeks leading technology companies have become increasingly vocal in their commitment to reforming business activities to “save the planet”.

Apple, for example, has announced the launch of 10 new environmental projects as part of its Power for Impact initiative, as well as switching to 175 suppliers using renewable energy, the company said in a statement. Tuesday, and that, by 2030, every device the company sells will have a net-zero climate effect. The company also noted that it has already reduced carbon emissions by 40 percent in the last five years.

On the other hand, Google has pointed to the goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2030 “across all our activities and value chains”. Published Monday. The company also spoke of its efforts to help its partners reduce their own emissions, such as through the Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) program, which helps cities map their pollution data, air quality and solar energy potential. Google also confirmed the mention Its products are actually for consumers.


Created by Microsoft Before explaining about the rapidly growing efficiency of huge data centers: “Carbon must be negative by 2030 and by 2050 the company will remove all carbon emitted directly or by electricity consumption since its inception in 1975.”

Amazon, for its part, has announced its 2 billion The investment program has selected three low-carbon startups: Resilient Power, which produces transformer-based EV charging technology; CMC Machinery, an order-specific-sized shipping box manufacturer; And Infinium, which has developed “ultra-low carbon fuels that can be used in aviation, marine freight and heavy truck fleets.” .

But do these protests of environmental progress signal a legitimate effort by Big Tech to clean up its collective work, or are they seeking more PR spin to offset their bad behavior? Because we have seen this kind of behavior before. This is called greenwashing.

What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is defined as “an expression of environmental concern, especially as a cover for products, policies or activities.” The term was first coined in 1986 by an environmentalist Examining an essay Leaving placards in the guest room suggests reusing their towels to help “save the environment”. Then, man : Newspapers, television and radio – the same source for virtually all advertising at the time. The imbalance in the availability of this information has created a system where corporations, regardless of their actual activities, can elevate themselves in the shadow of any flattery they desire, realizing in reality with little fear of the public that a fraud has occurred.

Greenwashing in the United States dates back to 1953 – although it was not mentioned at the time – when it was introduced by beverage manufacturers. The campaign reminded the public to be a good environmental steward and not dirty, in fact an attempt to block incoming regulations on the use of disposable containers. Greenwashing was metastasized in the 1980s because big oil companies praised their own Inside And global warming. These agencies went so far as to work to actively prevent the government . But you can’t find out from their television commercials.

The spot above is from Chevron’s People Do Campaign. It should be noted that many of the programs promoted in that campaign were in fact government-directed measures and during this campaign, Chevron was repeatedly found to be in violation. , And was caught .

Exxon’s work in the 90’s was equally disgusting. The agency continues to muddy the waters around humanity’s role in climate change, How to burn fossil fuels Inflate the growing crisis.

In 2017, ExxonMobil’s Climate Change Communications (both internal memos and public-oriented advertising newspaper content) produced between 1977 and 2014 found that more than 80 percent of internal documents acknowledged that human activity was largely responsible for global warming, with only 12 percent of the company’s ads being the same. Has done

“Within hours of our research being published, ExxonMobil responded to the ad hominin attack,” said Geoffrey Supran, a Harvard Research Associate. Last year. “I was invited by the European Parliament to testify about ExxonMobil’s history of climate change. The day before, they sent a private memo (which is now leaked) to MPs to try to discredit me. That said, the Exxon tiger has not changed its stripes. “

Greenwashing in the modern era

Greenwashing remains a widely used marketing strategy today – and not just A time .

Take bottled water, for example. Nestlাই alone has spent millions of advertising dollars in recent years trying to convince the public that it claimed in 2008 that “bottled water is the most environmentally responsible consumer product in the world.” Percentage of plastic water bottles And the rest of the landfill and the sea end up chaotically – scientists speculate that around .

And they are far from alone. Coca-Cola caught fire in Australia in 2015 when it rolled out Coke Life, a so-called light sugar form packaged in a bright green can. Certainly it makes consumers think they are making a health conscious purchase decision but nonetheless “Reducing 10 teaspoons of sugar in a 600ml bottle has made little difference in terms of health effects.” Recently the company has launched The campaign, which in its essence, pushes consumers not only to recycle more, but also to adjust the way the company conducts its business.

In 2013, It’s about confusing self-framing about how he cares for his animals and their relative well-being, not two years ago Repeatedly to kick and punch the pig. And who can forget Volkswagen, ?

Why greenwashing works so well

So why do companies actually insist on greenwashing their activities instead of reforming themselves? Because it is much more profitable to adjust people’s perceptions than to make meaningful reforms. It was found that 66 per cent of respondents willing to pay a premium for “environmentally sustainable products” and those willing to pay more than 50 per cent were affected by sustainability factors such as “company is environmentally friendly (58 per cent), and the company is known for its commitment to social values”. 56 percent.)

This is also because we, collectively, fall for it. Consumers’ desire to help address the climate crisis, especially in the face of the weak response from world governments, prompts us to view virtually any move on that account as positive. “SDGs [] And ‘Net Zero’ has created a lot more green washing opportunities, because it allows you to describe yourself as a green company when you do something that isn’t fundamentally green, ”said Dave Powell, co-presenter. Podcasts and the former head of the environment at the New Economics Foundation . “You are buying a way out of the problem effectively, for example,

“As part of their climate strategies, many companies are voluntarily relying on carbon offsetting. However, if not done well, offsetting could lead to green washing,” said Dr. O’Brien Hafi, Smith School of Enterprise and environmental research lecturer. University of Oxford, added. “To reduce this risk, the government and society should support the use of best practice guidelines, as recently published.”‘, To help ensure that offsetting is done in a rigorous and credible way that ultimately contributes to the net zero goal. “

And, most importantly, companies are engaged in greenwashing because there are very few negative aspects to doing so, at least from a regulatory perspective. In the United States, , Although retains the rights of the FTC .

However, cracks may appear in the face of green washing, starting in the financial sector, the interest of regulators (Environmental, social and governance) supervision increases. As Reported Monday, German asset manager DWS After a former employee was accused by both U.S. and German regulators of evading environmental credentials in the company’s 2020 annual report.

“You have to be careful, because there is a big reputation risk,” said a senior executive at the European Asset Manager, who declined to be named. FN London. “We’re not saying we had bulls before, but now there’s a recognition that it’s more complicated.”

“Most are probably a little more stressed about marketing their so-called ESG skills and they’re more cautious now,” added Philip Kalus, managing partner at consultancy Axellando Associates. “Some would even say that there is panic at home. No one wants to be the next person to be accused, but it’s an important and overdue call for the industry. “

Needless to say, the environmental commitments made by Apple, Google, Microsoft or Amazon were deliberately meant to enlighten the public (although Exxon, Shell and Chevron did exactly that). These companies have an inherent financial interest to at least show their customers as positively as possible because, to be honest, no one gets to talk about the flashy new features of Pixel 8 or iOS 15 when we have a global climate meltdown-slash-.

Is Google’s “moonshot goal” of managing its data centers and campuses to be completely carbon-free by 2030 doing more than making a difference in mitigating the effects of climate change? Probably not, certainly not by itself and certainly nothing more than Microsoft’s promise to reduce water usage in its data center by 95 percent by 2024 or Apple’s plan to build robots. . But these claims do not form a green bleach between themselves and themselves. Their changes may not be enough to have a noticeable effect at this point, but these honest faith efforts try to do something, Something, To stop what could be the self-prone extinction of humanity. And given how America’s recent effort to invest in environmentally responsible energy technology was single-handedly assassinated by a coal-loving senator from West Virginia, these kinds of corporate initiatives may be the best we’ll see soon.

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